Background/Aims: Airborne pollutants, such as nano-sized soot particles, are increasingly being released into the environment as a result of growing population densities and industrialization. They can absorb organic and metal compounds with potential biological activity, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and airborne pollen allergens. Local and systemic toxicities may be induced in the skin if the particulates release their harmful components upon dermal contact. Methods: In the present study, skin pretreatments with serum and/or shield as barrier formulations prior to exposure and washing with a cleanser subsequent to exposure were evaluated as a protection and decontamination strategy using laser scanning microscopy. Results: The results indicate that while the application of serum and a cleanser was insufficient for decontamination, the pretreatment with shield prior to nanoparticle exposure followed by washing led to the removal of a considerable amount of the carbon black particles. The combined application of serum and shield before the administration of carbon black particles and subsequent washing led to their elimination from the skin samples. Conclusion: The application of barrier-enhancing formulations in combination with a cleanser may reduce the penetration of harmful airborne particulates by preventing their adhesion to the skin and facilitating their removal by subsequent washing with the cleanser.

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